Jon Aquino's Mental Garden

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Sunday, March 13, 2005

Beginnings of a personal mission statement

This is the fruit of today's "hyperbaric chamber", in which I spend an hour each evening in a hot bath meditating on my life.

We have the beginnings of a personal mission statement: "To influence humanity to use technologies that give them superhuman control over their information space."

Currently these technologies include: search engines (web and PC), blogging, social networks (delicious, Flickr), GMail, PDAs, smart phones, RSS feeds, the open-source movement, the Internet Archives, ...


  • Jon,

    First of all, I think it's awesome that you're thinking this way, about a "Personal Mission Statement." More people should take their lives more seriously, in this way. I mean that as a compliment. Kudos to you.

    That said, there's sort of an obvious question here: To what end do you want to give "humanity ... superhuman control over their information space?..." I mean, "Why?..." And there are "layers of 'why.'" To wit: "control" to do what with? and what's *your* interest in doing this?...

    Also: I recommend that your next step be not toward the technologies you have in mind, but rather toward the effect you hope to have on "humanity" - or the world, even more broadly.

    Let me put this comment in some context for you. Are you aware of the existence of Have you ever visited their 'site? It's extremely well-intentioned - unless I'm badly mistaken - but ... I personally don't consider the 'site very interesting, useful, or beneficial, to the world at large. My interpretation of their failure (as I perceive it) to achieve their goals is that they had (and may still have!) excessive faith in the value of the technology they were developing, and didn't pay sufficient attention to the way in which this technology would and could be used by real people, sitting at real desks, etc....

    I don't want to get too far off on a tangent here. I just want to make the point that you really want to focus on people's welfare first. Then all of your thinking about the various technologies out there can happen in this context. That's how you're going to "do good," assuming that whatever mission you ultimately decide you're on is aiming toward this end, one way or another.

    Finally, looking at your list of "technologies," I feel like kind of what you're talking about are "productivity tools." So again, what you're after is helping people to become more productive???... It sounds like that's important to you. And I can imagine various reasons why it would be. But ... I suspect there's a lot more where this initial post came from.

    All the best!

    By Blogger userX, at 3/18/2005 11:51 a.m.  

  • Hi MDW - A challenging comment - thankyou. Like many people, I am trying to detect my mission in life. I know that technology is a huge interest of mine, and I do want to dream big -- hence, I tried to tie it all together with the grandiose Mission of: "To influence humanity to use technologies that give them superhuman control over their information space." It's almost as if technology can give individuals superhuman powers - omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, etc.

    That said, I have become more aware of the danger of "excessive faith in the value of the technology" as you say, especially when I read the negative portrayal of techno-utopianism in Wikipedia, which is too bad, as I thought the idea was kind of cool.

    Basically I love tools that help me to manage the personal information cloud, and I love telling other people when I find especially cool tools to do this (GMail!), and I'm trying to synthesize my passions into a grand, unified mission statement that encapsulates the core values of my life. Phew!

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 3/18/2005 12:35 p.m.  

  • You are way ahead of the game, having identified two things you love: IT & sharing IT tools / strategies w/ others.

    I know you're a religious person, Jon. (I am not, btw. [Agnostic.]) But I encourage you to try to connect these "loves" to your faith, and to explore ... not the existing interrelationships between these loves and your faith, but rather the potential interrelationships between these.

    Does that mean anything to you?...

    Just curious,

    By Blogger userX, at 3/18/2005 7:00 p.m.  

  • Hi MDW - I am enjoying your stimulating thoughts. Yes, it is natural when delving deeply into the things one loves most to touch on spiritual things.

    I'm fascinated with your suggestion for me to meditate on new ways to combine my spirituality and my passionate interest in technology. It'll an interesting mix, but I like it!

    And I wish you had a blog! It would be neat to track your thoughtstreams.

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 3/18/2005 8:52 p.m.  

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